"Fictional Heroines: Actual Archetypes."
1. Lara Croft: Lara first appeared in the 1996 video game, Tomb Raider. She was created by Toby Gard, and was most famously portrayed by Angelina Jolie in the two feature films; Tomb Raider and The Cradle of Life. What's notable about Lara is that she does what she wants when she wants and where she wants: she has no man to hold her back.
Depiction: Lara Croft is depicted as athletic, well-educated, wealthy (as 'Lady' Lara Croft in the English peerage), and independent. Her education and skills include fighting, thievery, self-defense, automobiles, weaponry, navigating, and linguistic skills, as she is fluent in multiple languages. Her wardrobe is simple, her clothes functional for her occupation and travels.
Influence: As the "largest opening ever for a movie headlined by a woman," Lara continues to have an influence on a new generation of video gamers and action movie fans. Praise for Lara Croft: Computer and Video Games said that Lara Croft's debut "wowed the world with her ballsy attitude and tough girl image." Game artist Sandy Spangler listed Lara Croft as an extremely successful character that "broke the mold". (source)
2. Buffy (the Vampire Slayer): Buffy was a character in the 1992 film by the same name, who was later most notably portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the t.v. series that ran for six seasons '97-'03. She is a 'vampire and demon slaying cheerleading high school student'. What's notable about Buffy, is that the audience "watches her mature" from a flaky ditz in season one to a full trained battle machine by season six.
Depiction: Buffy Summers is depicted as a beautiful, athletic high school student. She is limited by her mother and watcher in her social activities and frequently gets into trouble. She falls in love with several "dangerous" men over the course of the seasons, but survives them all.
Influence: "The character of Buffy was created to subvert the stereotypical female horror film victim; Whedon wanted to create a strong female cultural icon." (source)
3. Nikita: Famously portrayed by Anne Parillaud, (in Luc Besson's 1990 film) Peta Wilson (in the '97-'01 T.V. series La Femme Nikita) and by Maggie Q in the latest television reboot Nikita (see photo left.) Nikita is recruited from prison (where she was innocently framed and serving a sentence) to become an assassin with Section One/Division. In the latest series she is a spy and assassin who has gone rogue, and she works to bring down Division, who is running special interest black ops all over the globe.
Depiction: Nikita is an assassin. She is trained in hand to hand combat and in every weapon imaginable. She has spy training as well. She operates alone, but has several spotters and aids.
Influence: "Silverstein (executive producer of the reboot) describes the story as a "dark fairytale. This girl is taken from one life, her identity is erased, she's put in another life and she's transformed. It's like Alice in Wonderland. She's told, "Eat this, drink that, steal this, kill that," and she's not told why. And, she begins to find her own identity through that"." (source)
4. Leeloo (The Fifth Element): Portrayed memorably by Milla Jovovich in the film The Fifth Element. She is a supreme being at the center of the plot to save the universe.
Depiction: LeeLoo is a supreme being, so she learns at the speed of a scanning computer. She learns fighting skills from this computer as well as language skills over the course of a single day. She is considered to be "perfect" in body and mind and it was a surprise to everyone (in the movie) when she was discovered to be a female.
Influence: The Fifth Element became a cult classic and grossed over $260M. The character of Leeloo has had international attention. As a 'supreme being' LeeLoo represents the perfect element: female, strong and smart.
5. Trinity: Portrayed by Carrie-Anne Moss in the Matrix Trilogy, Trinity embodied female action star and computer programmer extraordinaire.
Depiction: Trinity is proficient at computer programming and hacking, as well as martial arts and operating motor vehicles. She is also depicted as the lover of Neo, the "Chosen One," who will set the rebels free and she dies trying to help him on his quest to save the world from the machines.